Mississippi Half Step-> Feel Like A Stranger, West L.A. Fadeaway, Minglewood Blues, Row Jimmy, Box Of Rain, Desolation Row, Don't Ease Me In
Hell In A Bucket, Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain, Women Are Smarter-> Drums-> Space-> China Doll-> Playin' In The Band-> Throwing Stones-> Turn On Your Love Light, E:Not Fade Away-> E: Black Muddy River
May 10, 2021 Subject:
Big second night improvement
This night starts off very strong with a dialed in Half-Step and a way way out Stranger that rates the pause that follows. The Dead continue the competence of the night before but with a little more finesse and kinetic energy than night one. West L.A. and Minglewood attest to this studio-like focus of the band members on their instruments which provides uniquely strong support for the singers to take some risks. Bob does this with what could be the greatest Desolation Row in which he does a Never Ending Tour-style vocal phrasing almost in anticipation of how Dylan would start to sing it in a few years. Box of Rain similarly is a particularly solid one vocally for Phil and for the band’s ensemble playing in general. Don’t Ease has the bottom-heavy metallic chunkiness of this period on songs like this and Deal that is an audio terrain unlike what any other band has roamed, even most GD cover bands don’t find a way to replicate it.
Bucket opener continues the kind of inauspicious second set trend of this two night run, I think from the perspective of someone touring in 1987 as I listen to this. When it is followed by Scarlet, my instinctual concerns about second sets with both of these songs (which appear in a reddish violet color…yeah, this is a red light show) worries me that Scarlet is going to veer off into Ship of Fools or something but no all that worry for nothing: Scarlet transitions un-rushed into a perfectly good Fire on the Mountain albeit one with a pretty rough vocal. Good Scarlet>Fire though. Still my suspicion is aroused as Women are Smarter begins to dissolve, then it picks up again and finishes. Note to his 21st century tempo critics: Bob complains it’s “too f/n slow” into the mic. Women are Smarter does indeed go into Drums though. Post Drums is very strong with a surprise 71 style Playin’ in the Band and and dandy Lovelight. Then boy are you surprised when you also get NFA in the encore plus a regular encore. It was looking like a promising summer of GD shows.